by Kerri Garbis, CEO Ovation
When it comes to storytelling in a business setting, some may struggle with finding the perfect subject or format. Whether it’s for marketing purposes, preparing for a business speaking engagement, or maybe just sharing a story to relate to a particular audience, finding the perfect story can be difficult.
People are longing for stories, but they don’t want long stories. They want short, little, punch-you-in-the-face stories. When it comes to finding the perfect story to tell in a business setting, consider these three key elements:
1. The bigger the failure, the better the story. Telling success stories is completely fine when talking about a business. People will listen all about how you made it to the top, but it’s not what people want to hear. It’s important to remember that your audience, and those that form your business, are human. We all make mistakes. While the journey to get your business to where it is may be interesting, it’s essential to focus on the bumps along the road. Those are the most interesting. Focusing on the fails, disasters, and ugly sides of developing a business communicates a human element to the audience. Not only that, but it verifies your audience mistakes as well. It’s comforting to hear failure stories because it reminds all of us that we’re human and we’re going to fail, so don’t be afraid to let the imperfect side of your business shine.
2. Relate the story back to your audience. The more relatable your story is, the bigger punch, or reaction, you will get. Sit down and ask yourself: why are you sharing this story? What is the benefit to your audience? How does this bring people into your message or call to action? The answers to these questions will be the reasons why your audience can — and will — relate. It is important to remember that not all stories will have big, relatable lessons or situations. Sometimes, you can use these stories to engage or change the mood of the room. Forming relatable engagement in storytelling is key to relationship building with your audience.
3. Tell the truth. Most importantly, root your stories in truth. No one tells better stories about your personal experiences than yourself. Telling someone else’s story or pulling a story out of thin air won’t result in an engaging topic for your audience. People can smell insincerity from miles away. Instead, dig deep to find the unique stories to your journey. Your audience cares about you, so it’s important to let your life and voice shine. When it comes to changing names to protect the innocent or modify timelines to make the story flow better, that’s fine as long as the root of the story is truthful.
Bonus tip: When you are rehearsing your story to tell publicly, a good way to figure out how well you have the details is to tell the story backward. If you can tell the story from end to beginning, that’s how you know you’ve nailed down the story.
All in all, finding your story is not as difficult as some make it out to be. Following the three steps above will send you on your storytelling journey and help you master what makes you unique. Audiences are dying to hear the nitty-gritty details so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
About Kerri Garbis
Kerri Garbis is the Founder and CEO of communications skills training firm, Ovation and has trained hundreds of business professionals throughout her career as a professional actress, entrepreneur, and speaking coach. She is a Professional Speech Writer certified by the Professional Speechwriters Association, a Business Etiquette Expert certified by The Emily Post Institute, an Emotional Intelligence Expert certified by The Hay Group, and the exclusive speaker training partner for Meeting Planners International. Her dedication to dynamic, user-tailored content has helped ensure that every Ovation consultant delivers the highest level of client-focused professional training. Visit www.getovation.com today to learn more.